Lifespan

Women only started outliving men in the late 1800s

BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a well-known fact that women, on average, live longer than men. A new study, however, suggests that this is only a fairly recent development, and differences in life expectancy only started to emerge in the late 1800s. The study analyzed information from people in 13 developed countries,  born between 1800 and 1935, and found that death rates decreased over this period among both men and women. Starting in 1880, however, death rates started decreasing much faster among women. The researchers concluded that the greater life expectancy for women is actually “a relatively new demographic phenomenon that emerged among people born in the late 19th century.” The reason behind this? Researchers found that cardiovascular disease was the main cause of the higher death rates among men, with heart disease and stroke accounting for more than 40 percent of the increase in male mortality rates versus female mortality rates between 1880 and 1919. While men are biologically more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, that difference was seen only after deaths from other causes, such as infections, started to decline.

Read the full story at LiveScience.

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